Dr. Ralph Miller, who was injured in a hang-gliding accident in Mexico last week, opened his eyes Wednesday morning and blinked in response to questions, said his wife, former Lexington Mayor Pam Miller.
The brief return to consciousness is a hopeful sign. "He's better every day," Pam Miller said
Pam Miller has been with her husband in Mexico City since soon after the accident. Ralph Miller, a professor of endocrinology at the University of Kentucky, has been heavily sedated since the accident, but is making progress daily, Pam Miller said.
Doctors are gradually reducing the sedation. Wednesday was the first day that the family has seen signs of consciousness.
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Ralph Miller, 75, was hang-gliding in Valle de Bravo, two hours from Mexico City, when he hit a tree upon landing. The University of Kentucky physician was taken by ambulance to Hospital Angeles Lomas in Mexico City.
"He is getting tremendous medical care here," Pam Miller said.
Ralph Miller ended up at the private hospital thanks to connections in Lexington.
When Pam Miller, who didn't go on the trip, learned of the accident, she called Dr. Michael Karpf, executive director of health affairs at UK for advice.
Karpf knew of a neurosurgeon in Mexico City, Dr. Jaime Rosenthal, who had trained at Massachusetts General Hospital. Within 20 minutes, Karpf had Rosenthal on the phone, and Rosenthal said Ralph Miller should come to his hospital.
At that point, Ralph Miller was still en route to Mexico City from the accident site, which was about two hours away. Pam Miller called a man who was in the ambulance with her husband and was able to route the ambulance to the correct hospital.
Miller said that the care has save her husband's life.
"If they had gone to a really tiny hospital, he wouldn't have been able to get this special care," Miller said.